Nov 252015

I’m getting as much done early as I can, because I expect a very busy day.  Sometime this afternoon my interim prosthetic leg will arrive.  I will use it for about six months, shrink out of it, and have a new cup made.  Today I will take my first baby steps on two feet.  I also expect visits from PT and OT.  OT plans to help me use the shower.  I’ll just have to suffer through that.  Winking smile

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2014 there was a huge increase in sexually transmitted diseases in the United States.

The CDC estimates that nearly 20 million new STD infections happen each year in the U.S., with the majority affecting 15 to 24-year-olds.

Reports of gonorrhea and syphilis also increased in 2014. There was a 2.8% increase in chlamydia since 2013, and reports of syphilis, which has three stages, increased for the most infectious stages of the disease by 15.1%.

One of the reasons for this rise in STDs is the war being waged on public health in this country over the last couple of decades.

The increase in STDs is in many ways a result of cuts in funding to public health clinics, Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, told NBC.

“Most recently, there have been significant erosions of state and local STD control programs,” Bolan said. “Most people don’t recognize that the direct clinical care of individuals with sexually transmitted diseases is supported by state and local funds and federal funds.”

This leads to men and women not getting tested and treated early, before further infections occur. As the CDC report notes, it’s not particularly economic to cut our public health and then have to pay it out on the other end.

This is a direct result of the Republican sequester.  Thanks, Republicans!

From The New YorkerIn an announcement on Monday morning, Pfizer, the big drug company, whose headquarters are on East 42nd Street, in Manhattan, said that it is merging with one of its competitors, Allergan PLC. Ian Read, a Scottish-born accountant who is Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, said that the proposed deal, which is valued at a hundred and sixty billion dollars, would “create a leading global pharmaceutical company with the strength to research, discover and deliver more medicines and therapies to more people around the world.”

On Wall Street and in the world of big pharma, that statement will raise chuckles. It is widely acknowledged that the primary impetus for the deal is a financial one. In merging with Allergan, which is based in Dublin, Pfizer intends to move its corporate residency to Ireland, where the corporate tax rate is just 12.5 per cent, compared to thirty-five per cent for a company of its size in the United States. Over the next few years, the merger could save Pfizer billions of dollars in taxes and deprive the U.S. Treasury of the same amount.

Tax-driven deals of this nature are known as “inversions,” and they are becoming increasingly common. Burger King, Liberty Global, and Medtronic are among the U.S. corporations to have carried out mergers that moved their headquarters abroad. Last year, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said that inversions were “wrong,” and that he would try and restrict them. Only last week, the Treasury Department issued some new administrative guidelines in this area. Without actual legislation, though, there isn’t very much the Obama Administration can do to prevent these exercises in corporate tax-dodging, and Republicans on Capitol Hill have displayed little eagerness to coöperate in a crackdown.

It’s simple. If a company wants to do business in our marketplace, they should have to pay taxes here. To make this happen we must flush the Republican Party.

From NY Times: For more than a year, a rare coalition of liberal groups and libertarian-minded conservatives has joined the Obama administration in pushing for the most significant liberalization of America’s criminal justice laws since the beginning of the drug war. That effort has had perhaps no ally more important than Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by a pair of brothers who are well-known conservative billionaires.

Now, as Congress works to turn those goals into legislation, that joint effort is facing its most significant test — over a House bill that Koch Industries says would make the criminal justice system fairer, but that the Justice Department says would make it significantly harder to prosecute corporate polluters, producers of tainted food and other white-collar criminals.

The tension among the unlikely allies emerged over the last week as the House Judiciary Committee, with bipartisan support, approved a package of bills intended to simplify the criminal code and reduce unnecessarily severe sentences.

This makes it crystal clear that Republicans really don’t give a damn about sentencing reform. They’re just using it to mask protecting big corporate criminals from responsibility for their crimes.



Nov 252015

Hmmmmmmmmmmm . . . it was an ordinary day with nothing untoward happening.  Something must be wrong! Even the weather was great and no sibling rivalries from the feline side of the family!  I'll celebrate while I can!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:42 (average 4:41). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Daily Kos  While Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou are vilified for revealing vital information about spying and bombing and torture, a man who conspired with Goldman Sachs to make billions of dollars on the planned failure of subprime mortgages was honored by New York University for his "Outstanding Contributions to Society." 

This is one example of the distorted thinking leading to the demise of a once-vibrant American society. There are other signs of decay: 

1. A House Bill Would View Corporate Crimes as 'Honest Mistakes' 

Wealthy conservatives are pushing a bill that would excuse corporate leaders from financial fraud, environmental pollution, and other crimes that America's greatest criminals deem simply reckless or negligent. The Heritage Foundation attempts to rationalize, saying "someone who simply has an accident by being slightly careless can hardly be said to have acted with a 'guilty mind.'" 

One must wonder, then, what extremes of evil, in the minds of conservatives, led to criminal charges against people apparently aware of their actions: the Ohio woman who took coins from a fountain to buy food; the California man who broke into a church kitchen to find something to eat; and the 90-year-old Florida activist who boldly tried to feed the homeless

Of course, even without the explicit protection of Congress, CEOs are rarely charged for their crimes. Not a single Wall Street executive faced prosecution for the fraud-ridden 2008 financial crisis. 

Click through for 4 more signs of a decaying society.  These bring to mind scenes in Detroit where water and sanitation was cut off to thousands because they couldn't pay for water etc, bills usually being a couple hundred dollars.  But some golf courses etc owned and used by the wealthy, with arrears in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars, had no water cut offs.  It isn't hard to see who has their priorities screwed up.

Politicususa — Now, it appears that Fox News, the religious right, and conservative pundits have another “war on Christmas” enemy to add to their growing list of atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Wiccans, Heathens, and Muslims who they say hate Christmas. The newest combatant joining the fake war on Christmas went beyond opposing saying Merry Christmas or protesting against Christian Christmas displays on government property and actually assailed the holiday celebration as a farce; likely because he is the supreme leader of the Catholic Church and not involved in conservative America’s silly Christmas outrage.

Pope On War

During a Mass at Casa Santa Maria, Pope Francis quietly committed one of the most heinous sins to American conservatives and religious right fanatics. There have been a world of things this “progressive” Pope has said to incite Republicans, conservatives, and evangelicals to abject anger and outrage, and each and every time it is because he talks like the Christian bible’s humanitarian Jesus. This latest incident is no different and is another signal that on a couple of important issues, Francis is a progressive pope; and an honest-to-dog humanitarian.

Click through for the rest.  I can hear Bill O'Reilly now, totally apoplectic, screaming that the Pope has no idea what he's talking about!  I am not a catholic, but I can definitely get behind him on some issues, and this is one.  I have felt for years that Christmas is about excessive and conspicuous consumption.  The real Christmas comes every day wrapped in plain, unadorned paper.  It is the extended hand to refugees, a kind word, volunteering in a soup kitchen or a food bank so others might have food, holding the hand of someone who is afraid, and many more.

Talking Points Memo — Writing for the 7th Circuit majority, Judge Richard Posner called the contention that the law would protect women's health "nonexistent." He said the law would put more women in danger by increasing the waiting times for abortions, which could push some procedures into the second trimester.

"What makes no sense is to abridge the constitutional right to abortion on the basis of spurious contentions regarding women's health — and the abridgement challenged in this case would actually endanger women's health," he wrote.

He also said that a woman who experiences complications from an abortion will go to the nearest hospital, which will treat her regardless of whether her abortion doctor has admitting privileges there.

Click through to read the rest.  Of course the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a Texas case come spring which will affect all states.

My Universe h/t John Gray, Care2

At least this young lady got the kitten's bumb and not claws as was my misfortune when I was the trampoline 7 yearrs ago!

Nov 242015

Today I plan to dress in human clothes and explore the public areas on the first floor of the hospital.  Of course, that assumes that PT and or OT does not get here first and exhaust me.

Continuing much later, I did explore.  Then the prosthetic people came.  Surprise!!  New leg tomorrow.  Then PT came and worked me.  Then OT came and worked me.  I’m exhausted.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Warning: Proprietors are not responsible for reader aneurisms caused by the following sentence.

Sarah Palin takes to Facebook to say Jesus likes guns. [Dingbat delinked]


Taking concrete defense measures (ie. arming ourselves) away from the good guys? Yeah… that… we don’t want that. As this hilarious parody says, “…it will really suck when only the bad guys have guns.”

Let us not forget that Bloody Bullseye Barbie is the Republican who painted a bullseye on Gabby Giffords’ HQ shortly before she was shot. Jesus would take a coil of rope to drive out Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians, today’s Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes and money Lenders.

From NY Times: Planned Parenthood sued Texas officials in federal court in Austin on Monday, seeking to block the state from cutting off its Medicaid funding, the latest in a series of lawsuits it has filed against Republican-led states after the controversy over its use of fetal tissue.

Texas and a handful of other states — including Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana — have moved to eliminate Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood amid the controversy. Secretly recorded videos that were released starting in July purported to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to illegally profit from the sale of aborted fetal tissue and discussing the issue with abortion opponents who posed as representatives of a biomedical firm.

Planned Parenthood said that the videos were deceptively edited and that the group did not do anything illegal or unethical. Its officials said the state’s decision to eliminate the group’s Medicaid funding, set to take effect as early as Dec. 8, was politically motivated and without merit.

The nonprofit organization’s lawsuit alleges that Texas violated federal law and the so-called Medicaid freedom of choice provision, which allows those enrolled in Medicaid to seek services from a qualified provider of their choice. The lawsuit also accuses Texas officials of singling out Planned Parenthood for “unfavorable treatment without adequate justification,” a violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

The author is sacrificing truth for balance. The tapes were “edited”. Planned Parented makes tissue donations only with the consent of the patients. Reimbursements to Planned Parenthood only covered the cost of making the tissue donations, but there was never profit. As of 10/15, Planned Parenthood makes tissue donations with no reimbursement whatsoever. The Republican War on Women is still with us.

From Alternet: It’s that time of year again. Time for stuffing one’s face with delicious food while re-connecting with drunk aunts, racist uncles, and disappointed parents. Luckily, since 1981 the folks at Butterball have had a hotline for tips on cooking turkey to make the holidays run just a little smoother. Late Show host Stephen Colbert decided to take this goodwill and troll the hotline because, why not? 



Why don’t we leave the poor Turkeys alone. Instead, lets stuff and roast Republicans!!



Nov 242015

It has been a busy day, first with physio and then teaching.  All was going well, although I was very tired, until we received a call from from my student's 10 year old son.  His middle school was in lock down because there was one, maybe two men with guns near the school.  That put everybody on edge until it was over and I could get over to the school to pick him up.  That stretched out my day and my planned cat nap had to wait.  But all is well that ends well.  Men with guns, other than police constables, is not something we are used to, thankfully.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:12 (average 5:01). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Fantasy Football

Rank Team Status W-L-T Pct Stk Waiver For Against

Monster MashersMonster Mashers


7-3-0 .700 L1 7 1,002.34 748.84

BALCO BombersBALCO Bombers


7-3-0 .700 W4 9 950.96 793.22

Progressive UnderdogsProgressive Underdogs


6-4-0 .600 W2 8 1,016.66 906.92

Lefty HillbilliesLefty Hillbillies


6-4-0 .600 W1 6 948.50 844.04



6-4-0 .600 W1 5 926.22 796.88

Purple DemonPurple Demon


5-5-0 .500 W3 4 948.16 970.96

Size 9 StompersSize 9 Stompers


5-5-0 .500 L1 3 851.08 851.16

Playing without a helmetPlaying without a helmet


4-6-0 .400 L3 2 824.80 953.40

TomCat Teabag TrashersTomCat Teabag Trashers


3-7-0 .300 L3 10 884.98 1,059.66



1-9-0 .100 L9 1 633.20 1,061.82

* Rank change shown is from week 9 – 10

Short Takes

Truth in Mediah/t Lona Goudswaard — In this episode of Truth in Media, Ben Swann explores the origin of ISIS that has already been long forgotten by American media. Swann takes on the central issue of whether or not ISIS was created by "inaction" by the United States government or by "direct" action.

Although this video is 8 months old, it bears watching again and again until we get it straight and can hold politicians, no matter the party, accountable.

Alternet — “The Pfizer-Allergan merger would be a disaster for American consumers who already pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs,” Sanders said, in a statement issued by his U.S. Senate office. It also would "allow another major American corporation to hide its profits overseas.”

Click through for the rest of the story.  I kept hearing about this proposed sale on the radio as I went about my business.  What makes this deal different from most so far (I'm sure that others will follow) is that Allergan, the Irish company, is making the purchase thereby getting around US laws regarding "inversions".  Bernie is right to call on Obama to squash this.

Think Progress — The mayor of Dallas is pushing back against politicians who say Americans should be skeptical ofSyrian refugees, saying he is “more fearful” of armed white men than people fleeing civil war in the Middle East.

Speaking to MSNBC on Saturday morning, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was asked to discuss the growing anxiety over Syrian refugees entering the United States, purportedly over concerns they could be potential agents for militant groups such as ISIS. Rawlings staunchly rejected the assertion that Syrians are somehow uniquely prone to violence, saying he is more concerned with the rise of white supremacy and the recent flurry of mass shootings committed by white men.

Click through for the rest and a video from the Rachel Maddow Show.  

My Universe — h/t to John Gray, Care2

Nov 232015

Yesterday I finally got to take my first shower since 9/5.  I can’t tell you what a relief it is not to smell something rancid and know it’s me.  Because it involves a nurse leaving this unit with me, it’s hard to schedule, but I’m hoping to get a couple a week.  Fantasy football players, don’t forget to have your lineups set early this week, as there are two games on Thanksgiving Day.

Religious Ecstasy:


Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: In 2014, Americans donated an estimated $350 billion to charities. A generous country we are, but how much of those funds actually benefit those in need? You might not want to know. There are good charities. There are bad charities. And there are the worst charities.

America’s “worst” charities have gained their titles by how much they raise in donations for their cause—and how little of that money goes towards the same cause. As these deceptive organizations ask you for your financial support, many lie about where or to whom that money is alloted, sometimes paying themselves “multiple salaries” and “consulting fees.” One cancer charity paid the company president’s son nearly $18 million over eight years, to solicit donations. The Tampa Bay Times reports:

Some nonprofits are little more than fronts for fundraising companies, which bankroll their startup costs, lock them into exclusive contracts at exorbitant rates and even drive the charities into debt.

How Republican!!  Click through for the list. I’m amazed that Susan G Komen for the Cure isn’t on the list. Considering all they have spent lobbying to prevent women form getting breast cancer screenings and other women’s healthcare from Planned Parenthood, they should be on it.

From NY Times: Donald J. Trump said on Sunday he was in favor of the actions of his supporters who reportedly punched and kicked a protester from the Black Lives Matter movement who interrupted Mr. Trump’s campaign rally the previous day in Birmingham, Ala.

“Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with “Fox and Friends” on Sunday. “This was not handled the way Bernie Sanders handled his problem, I will tell you.”

To support violence against a protestor is typical rabid Republican response.  But Hairball is a typical Republican.

The Squatch beat me to John Oliver, so you only get two short takes.



Considering yesterday’s cartoon, this is why.

Nov 232015

It feels like it has been a long day.  I visited with my mother and we had our little fashion show.  Her care aid this evening, Fatiha, helped me with the clothing.  Mum smiled when I held them up.  She always likes what I choose. Temperatures are heading down to the -5 to -10 C range for the rest of the week.  We may even see some snow flurries Monday night.  If it gets any colder, I'll have to put longjohns on my computer!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:27 (average 4:38). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Daily Beast  In the week-plus since the ISIS-commissioned terrorist attacks on Paris claimed the lives of 130 people and sent the world into a state of panic, Republican politicians—and that maladjusted person from your high school you’ve lost touch with—have been stoking the fears of Americans by espousing virulent anti-refugee rhetoric. Leading GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Marco Rubio have said we shouldn’t allow in any Syrian refugees, while 31 governors across the country have pledged not to allow these war-torn survivors into their states—this despite the fact that they have zero authority to do so.

And Trump, who by the way is married to an immigrant from then war-torn Slovenia (see: the Ten-Day War), has even argued that all mosques in the U.S. should be surveilled, and under a Trump presidency, that all U.S. Muslims could be forced to enter themselves into a database to monitor them. If this sounds like fascism, that’s because it is.

This past week, the House of Representatives passed a bill (that will surely be vetoed by President Obama) calling for tougher screening procedures for Syrian refugees, including that the FBI director must sign off on each and every one of the 10,000 refugees Obama’s pledged to accept over the next year.

Click through for the rest.  John Oliver certainly has a way with words.

Huffington Post — "That's the danger and that somehow talking about security allows us to tap into that racist vein, when that isn't who we are," Wynne said.

Couillard said Canada is not uniquely better or worse than any other society.

"We have those two devils within our society: racism and xenophobia. They exist," said the Quebec premier.

"And it is the responsibility of political leaders – and I got into trouble a few days ago because I said that publicly – it is the responsibility of political leaders not to feed the fire in a very negative way."

The 11-week federal election campaign that resulted in a resounding Liberal majority last month included highly charged debates over the wearing of face-coverings by less than a handful of Muslim women at citizenship swearing-in ceremonies and a Conservative proposal for a "barbaric cultural practices" hotline where it was suggested neighbours might report suspect behaviour.

Click through for the rest.  The thought of the barbaric cultural practices hotline called to mind an article I had read in the NY Times about ISIS women, Khansaa Brigade, the all-female morality police of the Islamic State.  ISIS turning people against their own.  Government leaders, in this case, Harper and his harlots encouraging people to turn against others. And it reminds me of what Hitler was doing during WWII.

Think Progress — Speaking to a bipartisan group of black lawmakers and community leaders on Saturday, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said he has yet to see evidence that black men and women are being disproportionately targeted by law enforcement.

During the 2020 Club’s Presidential Justice Forum at Allen University, a historically black university in Columbia, South Carolina, Carson said that he’s not convinced that there are racial biases in policing or that law enforcement singles out African Americans.

“I’m not aware of a lot of cases where a police officer comes up to someone like you and says ‘Hey, I don’t like you. I’m going to shoot you,’” he said to moderator Jeff Johnson from Black Entertainment Television. “I’m still waiting for the evidence.”

Click through for the rest.  It has to be true . . . Carson gave himself a lobotomy!  Either that or he just doesn't give a damn.  Does the US want someone for POTUS  who isn't in touch with reality?

My Universe — 

Nov 222015

Yesterday I was cleared to take a real human shower, with assistance and supervision.  The drive in shower is in another unit, presenting scheduling difficulties, but I’m hoping to take one today.  Today is a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos’ service is with the Bears.  I will not be able to see it, because the damn SeaChickewns are playing at the same time.  My the Holy Orb bless your team, unless they shit in the woods.

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Just days after withdrawing from the 2016 Presidential race, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal said that he would return the seventy dollars raised by his campaign.

Speaking to reporters in Baton Rouge, Jindal said he was proud that his campaign war chest “came entirely from small donors.”

Dang, Andy!! Booby Butthead actually raised THAT MUCH?!!?

From Daily Kos: Since William Rehnquist joined the Supreme Court, it has made several rulings that have knocked the U.S. Constitution out of whack. Retired Justice John Paul Stevens, who deliberated on most of those rulings, has written six amendments to fix the damage and tune-up the Constitution. Stevens published his proposed amendments last year in the book “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.” The amendments are terse, surgical fixes, which seem to fit the Constitution’s style of saying much with few words. The book gives a good history and description of each problem. Here is a brief rundown with the text of each amendment:

1. The “Anti-Commandeering” Rule: In 1997, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court, created an “anti-commandeering” rule, which bans Congress from ordering state officials to carry out federal duties. The case was brought by two county sheriffs, who did not want to do background checks for firearm sales as ordered by the Brady Act. The new rule led to holes in the database that would allow persons prone to violence, like the killer in the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting, to get firearms. Stevens notes that the “anti-commandeering” rule could also cripple other Congressional acts, from routine administration of federal programs to emergency responses to national catastrophes or acts of terror. His fix adds four words (in bold below) to the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges and other public officials in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

I agree with virtually everything Justice Srevens has to say. I have shared one of six of his proposed Constitutional amendments. Click through for the other five.

From NY Times: Outside her two-story tract home in this working-class town, Debbie Alberts, a part-time food service worker, has torn out most of the lawn. She has given up daily showers and cut her family’s water use nearly in half, to just 178 gallons per person each day.

A little more than 100 miles west, a resident of the fashionable Los Angeles hills has been labeled “the Wet Prince of Bel Air” after drinking up more than 30,000 gallons of water each day — the equivalent of 400 toilet flushes each hour with two showers running constantly, with enough water left over to keep the lawn perfectly green.

Only one of them has been fined for excessive water use: Ms. Alberts.

Four years into the worst drought in California’s recorded history, the contrast between the strict enforcement on Californians struggling to conserve and the unchecked profligacy in places like Bel Air has unleashed anger and indignation — among both the recipients of the fines, who feel helpless to avoid them, and other Californians who see the biggest water hogs getting off scot-free.

What an Outrage! This injustice could not be more Californicated!!



Nov 222015

I have been able to accomplish quite a bit today so I am a happy camper. Tomorrow will be a day to visit with my mother.  I bought her some adaptive clothing so we may have a "fashion show" to try them on for fit and hopefully to see my mother smile.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:15 (average 5:20). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Vancouver Sun — But he believes that building cities is about more than just constructing houses and towers and roads to connect them. It’s also about creating social infrastructure and inclusive societies.

Vancouver property developer Ian Gillespie is offering Syrian refugees temporary accommodations. 'We're in the property business, so it seemed an obvious place to start.'

So, Gillespie’s Westbank Properties is handing over 12 fully furnished and fully stocked apartments downtown to the Immigrant Services Society of B.C. for a minimum of four months. Those multi-bedroom units will be used as transitional accommodation until more permanent housing can be found for some of the 3,000 Syrian refugees expected to arrive in Vancouver within the next several months. 

Click through for the rest.  This attitude is certainly in contrast to that of US state governors, many of whom have said flat out "no refugees", and to the US House which voted "no" to refugees.  But many US Christians are seriously stepping forward in support of the Syrian refugees.  Vancouver developer Daljit Thind, himself an immigrant, has housing available. Vancouver's Temple Sholom has raised money to sponsor a family and is working with Mosaic immigrant services.

Washington Posth/t JLA — Completing a long-shot bid that ran counter to the conservative tide sweeping the Southern states, Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards was elected governor of Louisiana on Saturday, defeating his Republican rival, U.S. Sen. David Vitter.

Edwards was the top vote-getter in the state’s open primary last month and then built a lead over Vitter that he never surrendered.

With 1,800 out of 3,945 precincts reporting, Edwards led Vitter 55 percent to 45 percent, prompting the Edwards campaign to declare victory late Saturday evening.

Click through for the rest of the story.  Although this article states "1,800 out of 3,945 precincts reporting", the Huffington Post's story says "Edwards won 56 percent of the vote, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.".  And from Mother Jones

Edwards has pledged to sign an executive order authorizing the expansion of the program on his first day in office. That's a really big deal. Such a move would provide coverage to about 225,000 residents in one of the poorest states in the nation.

It certainly looks like things are looking up for Louisiana.  About time!

Think Progress — When a parking lot attendant dared to recycle trash he picked up outside an upstate New York Walmart, the store fired him. Now generous strangers are trying to help cushion his sudden fall.

Thomas Smith, 52, had been earning $9 an hour at an upstate New York Walmart for less than three months when his manager terminated him over the cans. Smith was in charge of rounding up shopping carts from the lot outside the store, and started collecting trash from the lot while making his rounds. After storing up cans for a couple months, he recycled them in the store’s machines in early November. He got $5.10 for them.

Click through for the rest of the story.  I think the following line from the story sums up the situation: "That thief was white. Smith collected trash while black."

My Universe — 

Nov 212015

It seems that this cough/cold is resurging again, but mostly the cough.  It certainly is making the rounds here.  If it does not abate this week, it is off to the doctor's again by week's end.  I hope everyone is having good weather for the weekend.  While it was cold last night at about -5 C, it is currently 5 C and sunny with a bit of cloud.  At least it is dry, but that is like to change tomorrow.  We may even see our first snowfall tomorrow at these lower levels.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:48 (average 4:58). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

CBC — Normally, few people outside France would pay much attention, but thanks to the attacks in Paris, as well as Marine Le Pen, the upcoming elections have become a litmus test for the big questions seizing the world.

Le Pen is the leader of the National Front, the one-time fringe party created by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a Holocaust-trivializing xenophobe who was such an embarrassment to the party that his daughter eventually gave him the boot.

The younger Le Pen has modernized the National Front and made it relevant in mainstream politics. 

But it is still her father's party in one important sense: it is still the party of fear. 

Click through for the rest of the article.  The politics of fear certainly is raising its head in France right now and their next presidential elections are scheduled for March/April 2017, and regional elections in 2016.  The politics of fear is rampant in the Republican Party which dominates the Congress.  And the politics of fear was heavy in Harper's Conservative government in Canada, thankfully defeated by the Trudeau Liberals. Should we be more afraid of Daesh or our own fears?  Personally, I think François Hollande has it right. 

It is what Hollande meant when he told France that to stay "true to our values," the country must press ahead with its promise to refugees and not abandon them.

Alternet — The soi-disant Land of the Free and Home of the Brave has a long and iniquitous history of overthrowing democratically elected leftist governments and propping up right-wing dictators in their place.

U.S. politicians rarely acknowledge this odious past — let alone acknowledge that such policies continue well into the present day.  

“Regime change” is not a phrase you hear discussed honestly much in Washington, yet it is a common practice in and defining feature of U.S. foreign policy for well over a century. For many decades, leaders from both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats, have pursued a bipartisan strategy of violently overthrowing democratically elected foreign governments that do not kowtow to U.S. orders.

Click through for the rest.  With the exception of Guatemala, I studied these other situations either in school or through the media as a matter of interest.  One that is not mentioned is Cuba.  Although Cuban revolutionaries took control of Cuba, ousting Batista, the US put in place an embargo that only started to soften in 2014.  This from Wikipedia :

Back in power, Batista suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike. He then aligned with the wealthiest landowners who owned the largest sugar plantations, and presided over a stagnating economy that widened the gap between rich and poor Cubans.[5] Batista's increasingly corrupt and repressive government then began to systematically profit from the exploitation of Cuba's commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships with the American mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses in Havana, and with large US-based multinationals who were awarded lucrative contracts.[5][6] To quell the growing discontent amongst the populace—which was subsequently displayed through frequent student riots and demonstrations—Batista established tighter censorship of the media, while also utilizing his Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities to carry out wide-scale violence, torture and public executions; ultimately killing anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 people.[7][8][9] For several years until 1959, the Batista government received financial, military, and logistical support from the United States.

As Bernie Sanders said "… these toppling of governments, regime changes have unintended consequences."

Mother Jones — Kansas Republicans believe they have created a law that their own high court cannot review.

In the latest twist of the topsy-turvy constitutional showdown between the GOP-controlled state legislature and the state Supreme Court, the Kansas attorney general has asked the entire Kansas Supreme Court to recuse itself from hearing a key case.

The power struggle between Kansas Republicans and the state's highest court goes back to a years-long battle over education funding. The state Supreme Court has repeatedly ordered the legislature to spend more money on public education, a request that conflicts with Republicans' desire to cut taxes. In 2014, the legislature passed a bill stripping the Supreme Court of the administrative authority to appoint chief judges in Kansas' 31 judicial districts, a move Democrats saw as a power play by the legislature to intimidate the top court during the ongoing fight over school spending. Chief District Court Judge Larry Solomon challenged the constitutionality of the judicial administration law, arguing that it violates the state's separation of powers.

Click through for the rest.  Republicans are making a mockery out of the separation of powers in Kansas, all to engineer their own Reich.  But it could also set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the country.  What's the expression . . . "by hook or by crook".

My Universe — 


Ah!!!  The weekend!!!

Nov 212015

This is my only article for today.  Fear mongering over the Daesh is dominating the news.  Hopefully I can find more  material tomorrow.  I’ll be fitted for a prosthetic Monday or Tuesday.  Since there are still no openings in an approved  SNF the plan has changed to complete my rehab here and discharge to home.  I’m guessing that.s a month away.  Reorganizing my home for amputee use without being there is boggling my mind.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Roanoke Mayor David A. Bowers released a public statement yesterday saying that he was calling for an end to any assistance for Syrian refugees and calling it “imprudent” to help relocate any refugees to Virginia. Taking it a step further, he also referenced a painful chapter in American history:

“I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl,” he said, “and it appears that the threat of harm to America from ISIS now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.”

Actor George Takei, who played the iconic Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek franchise, was a prisoner in an internment camp for four years when he was a young boy. He has opened up in recent years about the pain it caused his family and the damage it did to thousands of Japanese-American families. So, it’s no surprise he penned the perfect response to Mayor Bowers:

Click through to read Takei’s brilliant response to this bigot. I’m ashamed to admit that he’s a Democrat, when he is acting so Republican.

From TPM: Federal prosecutors continue to pursue criminal charges against three top campaign advisers to 2012 presidential candidate Ron Paul.

In a new grand jury indictment filed Thursday in federal court in Des Moines, Paul’s 2012 campaign chairman Jesse Benton, campaign manager John Tate and deputy manager Dimitri Kesari are charged with conspiracy to cover up $73,000 in campaign payments to former Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson. Sorenson dropped his support for Michelle Bachmann and endorsed Paul in December 2011, six days before the Iowa caucuses.

Benton, Tate and Kesari also are charged with causing false campaign contribution reports to be filed to the Federal Election Commission and participating in a false statement scheme. Benton and Tate are charged with causing the campaign to file false records of the payments. Kesari was convicted of that charge last month.

Benton is now a top strategist for America’s Liberty PAC, a dirty money front for the campaign of Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot. Republicans have a special way of dealing with criminals. They hire them.

From Think Progress: While the world has made progress closing the gap between women and men in health, education, economic participation, and political empowerment over the last decade, the United States is not keeping up.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) just released its 2015 Global Gender Gap report, which showed that the gap has dropped by 4 percent in the last ten years. While this marks progress, it could take another 118 years to completely close the gap. Gender equality will not be reached until the year 2133 at this rate.

Progress also isn’t even across the globe. Over those 10 years, Nordic countries have consistently been doing the most to close the gender gap. Iceland came in at number one over the past six years, followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden.

The United States, on the other hand, has actually moved backward. On the list of 145 countries, the United States has never broken into the top 15 countries with the lowest gender gap. Worse, it fell eight places over the last year, to a rank of 28 for overall gender equality

The Republican Solution:




Nov 202015

It looks like I’ll have another busy day, as both OT and PT are coming this afternoon.   I took it easy this morning and only made two laps.

Short Takes:

From YouTube: Merkley decries Republican efforts to slip Wall St. favors into must-pass spending bills


Oregon leads the way! “Must-pass” spending bill s must not pass, until Republican attempts to enable Banksters to prey on YOU are removed.

From Daily Kos: Since the map went live, Oregon has gone green, so to speak, on this map. And so has Colorado. You red states? Keep on cringing and cowering.


I had no doubt that Oregon would go green and refuse to surrender to the Daesh and their helpers to spread terror, the Republican Party.

From Media Matters: O’Reilly Once Said Terror Attack Would Get Bush Reelected, Now Says It Would Tarnish Obama As Worst U.S. President.

Barf Bag Alert!!


Is there any question as to why I call him O’Lielly? He’s a senior propagandist for the Republican Reichsministry of propaganda, Faux Noise!



Nov 202015

It was -4 C (25 F) this morning when I awoke, and is only just freezing as I write.  There was definitely frost on the rooves but no birds tobogganing on my slippery garage roof.  Being this cold at my level, there certainly will have been more snow on the mountains above me.  I am teaching this afternoon so will be out until at least 5 pm.  Have a great day everyone!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:52 (average 6:42). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Alternet  Paradoxically, at a time when the stakes are especially high for who becomes the next president, we have a free-for-all politics in which anyone can become a candidate, put together as much funding as they need, claim anything about themselves no matter how truthful, advance any proposal no matter how absurd, and get away bigotry without being held accountable.

Why? Americans have stopped trusting the mediating institutions that used to filter and scrutinize potential leaders on behalf of the rest of us.

As usual, the Reich on the left is correct.  But I don't think Americans have necessarily "stopped trusting mediating institutions" but rather many have lost the ability to think clearly and critically, especially when it comes to the governance of the states and country.  It seems to me that the clown car isn't just filled with the Republican candidates, but also their donors and the whole Republican structure.  Click through for the rest.

CBC — Superficially, the fearful reaction of Canadian, U.S, and European politicians to a new wave of Syrian immigrants may seem rational.

In the wake of horrific attacks in Paris, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has asked that Canada's Syrian immigration plan be suspended. In Poland and some U.S. states, leaders have said they no longer want Syrian immigrants at all.

A more careful examination of what happened in Paris will tell us our worries should lie elsewhere.

The best antidote to the kind of domestic Islamic radicalism that we have seen in Europe is not fear of immigration, but successful economic and social integration of new immigrants into the Canadian mainstream.

Click through for the rest of the article.  I agree with Pittis.  As Abraham Maslow showed, people need to provide for their physical and safety needs first.  These include: (from 

Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.

Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.

In order to continue to progress in a different culture, the refugees must be able to work and contribute to their family's well being and their own.  That feeling of success will lead to greater success.

Alternet — What follows are a dozen excerpts from Sanders' speech of what democratic socialism means to him and could mean for the country. It is a vision of a better world that starts with improving the economics and the dignity of Americans at home, which in turn Sanders said would better position America to face challenges from abroad, such as the terrorist threat posed by ISIS, which he addressed in the final quarter of his 100-minute speech.

1. Major political and economic reforms. “Democratic socialism means that we must reform a political system which is corrupt, that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy. Democratic socialism, to my mind, speaks to a system, which for example during the 1990s—and I want you to hear this—allowed Wall Street to spend $5 billion, over a 10-year period, in lobbying and campaign contributions in order to get deregulated. They wanted the government off of their backs. They wanted to do whatever they wanted to do….

"Then, 10 years later, after the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior led to their collapse, what our system enabled them to get bailed out by the United States government, which through Congress and the Fed, provided trillions of dollars in aid to Wall Street. In other words, Wall Street used their wealth and power to get Congress to do their bidding for deregulation, and then when Wall Street collapsed, they used their wealth and power to get bailed out. Quite a system!

“And then, to add insult to injury, we were told that not only were the banks too big to fail, we were told that the bankers were too big to jail. And this is the system. Young people who get caught possessing marijuana, they get police records—and many many hundreds of thousands have police records that have impacted their lives in serious ways. On the other hand, Wall Street CEOs who help destroy the economy, they don’t get police records, they get raises in their salaries. And this is what Martin Luther King, Jr. meant when he talked about socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for everyone else.”

Click through for the other 11 exerpts plus Bernie's thoughts on foreign policy.  Politico a 93 seconds video of Bernie's speech, a transcript which follows.

“Against the ferocious opposition of the ruling class of his day, people he called economic royalists, Roosevelt implemented a series of programs that put millions of people back to work, took them out of poverty, and restored our faith in government. He redefined the relationship of the federal government to the people of our nation. He combatted cynicism, fear and despair. He reinvigorated democracy. He transformed the country, and that is what we have to do today,” said the Vermont senator, an independent who caucuses with Democrats while identifying as a democratic socialist.

“And, by the way, almost everything he proposed, almost every program, every idea, was called ’socialist.'"

I make no bones about it, Bernie would fit in nicely in Canada, a social democracy.  Feel the Bern!

My Universe — Who doesn't love panda bears?  These are at the end of a Huffington Post article about zoo penguins in Denmark trying to escape.

I want the little one in the last picture sleeping on his belly and using neighbour as a pillow.  Reminds me of how my cats often sleep.